1.  Every successful defilement investigation and conviction is a great moment for the equality effect. But one that stood out this year was a conviction and life sentence for the perpetrator who raped 2-year-old Sophie in Meru, Kenya. We learned of the impact of the conviction and sentence on Sophie’s community when we heard from her neighbor. He told us he was thankful that justice had been served for both Sophie and the community, and that he was haunted by the idea that his neighbor, who raped Sophie, was now in prison for life. “People should be careful and not commit defilement or they’ll end up in prison,” he concluded.

2.  The successful start to the “160 Girls” police training in e²’s 4 pilot districts in Kenya. This training has been described by our rape shelter partners as already making a “night and day” difference in the police treatment of defilement investigations.

3.  The filing of the “Believe Her. End Corroboration.” constitutional claim in Malawi in November. This landmark claim seeks to eliminate the need for third party witnesses in rape cases and provide access to justice for all 9 million women and girls in Malawi. This claim will also contribute to the international conversation around victim-blaming and promote the essential first step in any rape case – believing the victim when she says she has been raped.

4.  Meeting with Esnart, one of the “Believe Her. End Corroboration.” claimants, and hearing her satisfaction in the community reaction to the filing of the corroboration claim. She told us she feels empowered through her neighbours’ new-found understanding of her desire to hold perpetrators accountable for sexual violence, and have rape claims treated like any other criminal case.

5.  Having e² CEO Fiona Sampson appointed to the Order of Canada, in recognition of her commitment to human rights, particularly those of women and girls in Africa. This honour is a wonderful endorsement of all the ground-breaking work undertaken by the equality effect under Fiona’s leadership.

Thank you for your tremendous support of the equality effect’s unique human rights work, making girls’ and women’s rights real – we couldn’t do it without you.  Wishing you a happy and healthy 2016, and looking forward to updating you on more e² successes in the New Year.

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